Anthony Lennon has worked nights for over ten years.
“I had just got married in 2012,” he explains, “and while I was on the night shifts, our first child came along. It made sense for me to be on nights so that once my wife went back to work after maternity leave, I could be available during the day.”
"I was working three nights a week and it allowed me to manage my day so that we only really needed childcare for our son once a week. Three years later, our daughter came along and the night shifts were working well so we just kept them going. With the expense of childcare, it made sense.”
While the initial reasons behind that decision might have been practical, the 37-year-old says that were it not for the flexibility night shifts offer him, he probably wouldn’t know his children as well as he does.
“I live in Caragh, Kildare,” says Anthony. “Both of the kids are in a primary school, just a two-minute drive away. So when I get back from my shift, if I’ve been working the day before, I’ll do the school run and have the day free until 2 pm. Again, if I’m working, I’ll use the time to go home, hop into bed and get a good rest for a few hours. I collect the kids in the afternoon. I get to sit down with them, have lunch with them, help them with their homework, spend quality time with them, and then go to work if I’m working. My shift runs from seven thirty in the evening to seven thirty in the morning.”
“If I was to flip that on its head to do a day shift, I would be leaving my house at half five in the morning, up and gone before they wake up. I’d be at work until half seven in the evening; I’d get back an hour later and maybe see the kids for forty-five minutes if I was lucky. That’s how they would know me.”
Anthony has been with Provincial for six-and-half years, having previously worked nights with another company. He made the switch due to what he describes as poor roster management and inconsistent pay cycles.
“There were too many times where I’d get a call saying, ‘sorry we can’t pay you this week, we have to wait til next week’. That happened twice and with a small family, you can’t have issues like that.”
After a short search, Anthony came across Provincial. He was invited for an interview and was soon offered a post as a security officer on a busy construction project. Almost immediately, he noticed “a complete change in terms of demeanour” and “how management spoke to people”. This was something, he says, that was best illustrated at last year’s summer party.
“I have never worked for a company where the managing director is standing at the reception of the hotel welcoming everybody and is able to remember everyone’s names,” says Anthony. “Not only the staff members but their spouses’ names, their children's names, and little details about their lives. Everyone’s life is important to themselves obviously, but you don’t expect the management of the company you work for to have a vested interest in your well-being as well. But it speaks volumes to the management team in Kilcullen and how they manage staff. The staff recognise that and want to stay with the company because of it.”
As someone who has spent a long time working nights, Anthony says the one question he is asked above all is around sleep management.
“I have a very good body clock that allows me to sleep almost instantly,” he says. “After I drop the kids to school, I'll get back and be asleep by nine-thirty. I get a good four to four and a half hours and it’s only three nights so the other nights I get a really good rest.”
Routine is key he says and during the winter months, Anthony takes his rest very seriously.At that time of the year, the free time that his night shifts give him, is rarely used for anything other than family activities. When the first buds of spring appear however, it is a different story.
“I enjoy my gardening and I like hiking. Those activities come into play more during the spring,” he says. “But I definitely take eight or nine weeks in winter where I do very little because when you’re on a routine of nights you have to allow your body to catch up. It’s amazing how the body will adapt to a routine. And mine is quite used to the routine now."